Chuck Hagel’s nomination as Secretary of Defense is now being challenged because of his record on defense and Israel, and also because of rumors of poor staff management.
Rabbi Marvin Hier and Rabbi Abraham Cooper, who run the Simon Wiesenthal Center which fights against genocide and also acts as a memoriam to the Holocaust, were quite blunt about the nomination of Chuck Hagel for Secretary of Defense:
We’ve noted Senator Hagel met with Senator Schumer and we noted the remarks from former Secretary of State Colin Powell. … These were private assurances. But Hagel made public comments. You can’t clear them up with private assurances in private Senate offices. Former Secretary of State Colin Powell referred to the “Israel Lobby” and the “Jewish Lobby.” With all due respect, the most offensive thing he (Hagel) said was, “I am not the Senator for Israel. I am the Senator for the United States.” That is deeply offensive to his colleagues.
Cooper: “He needs to clear it up publically. It needs to be done in front of the American people.” He added, noting Egyptian President Mahmoud Morsi’s venomous words from 2010 regarding Israel, “Words matter. Morsi’s words matter. Hagel’s words matter.”
What is the signal [from the Hagel nomination] to the mullahs? You then have the policy. The president has said sanctions will remain in place until Iran gives up its nuclear weapons program. But, is Hagel capable of delivering that message to the mullahs?
More damning for Hagel was the fact that he was the co-author of the report issued by the Global Zero U.S. Nuclear Policy Commission, which called for extremely deep cuts in the U.S. nuclear arsenal. He was fought by the current head of Strategic Command, General C. Robert Kehler, who vehemently disagreed. Hagel said that the Defense budget was “bloated” but the Joint Chiefs recently stated, “We are on the brink of creating a hollow force due to an unprecedented convergence of budget conditions and legislation that could require the Department to retain more forces than requested while underfunding that force’s readiness.”
Another challenge for Hagel’s confirmation are reports surfacing depicting him as temperamental; ex-staffers are starting to come forward with tales of his conduct when he was in the Senate, according to Sen. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.)